Feb 26, 2024  
2022-23 Catalog 
2022-23 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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PHYS 122 - General Engineering Physics II

6 CR

Second in a three-course survey of physics for science and engineering majors. Course presents fundamental principles of electromagnetism, including electrostatics, current electricity circuits, magnetism induction, generation of electricity, electromagnetic oscillations, alternating currents, and Maxwell’s equations. Conceptual development and problem solving have equal emphasis.

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 121  and MATH 152  or permission of instructor.

Course Outcomes

Laboratory Skills

•     Use standard laboratory instruments
appropriately, based on a sufficient understanding of their function;

•     Measure physical quantities in the
laboratory with appropriate attention to minimizing possible sources of random
and systematic error;

Practice, Outcome/Assessment:  Student
will reliably acquire data of sufficient quality to decisivly test the
hypothesis of formal laboratory investigations. 
Alternative or parallel assessment: 
The student will demonstrate satisfactory performance on lab practicum
questions associated with mid-term or final exams.


•     Measure physical quantities in the
laboratory with appropriate attention to minimizing possible sources of random
and systematic error;

•     Make reasonable estimates of the
uncertainties associated with each measurement;

•     Recognizes that measurement uncertainty is
estimated as an act judgment on the part of the observer and that judgment does
not imply arbitrariness.

Outcome/Assessment:  Student will
reliably record quality data acquired through measurement, habitually assigning
a reasonable uncertianty to each measured value.  Data analysis and conclusive statements from
formal lab reports will demonstrate a satisfactory level


•     Evaluate a hypothesis in terms of its
testability and determine the kind and amount of data required to test it;

•     Summarize the properties of a set of data
to facilitate analysis, using standard statistics such as mean and standard

•     Determine the uncertainty of a computed
quantity that arises from the uncertainties in the measured values of the
quantities from which it is computed;

•     Analyze an appropriate set of measurements
for consistency with a hypothesis, form and justify a conclusion regarding the
fit between the data and the hypothesis;


Communication Skills

•     Produce a compact and unambiguous verbal
description of an experimental procedure and of the observations/data obtained
using it;

•     Produce a compact and unambiguous verbal
description of a chain of theoretical or experimental reasoning, including
clarity regarding assumptions, accuracy regarding logical connections,
specificity regarding conclusions, and clarity regarding the scope (and
limitations) of applicability.


Physical Problem Solving Skills

•     Habitually sketches the configuration of
problem elements as part of the problem solving process;

•     Habitually uses a variety of
representations in the problem solving process;

•     Consciously selects an appropriate
coordinate system;

•     Identifies sub-problems and breaks a large
problem into parts (linking variables).

•     Habitually develops and interprets
algebraic representations before substituting particular numerical values;

•     Makes appropriate use of significant
figures and units in problem solving;

•     Interprets algebraic and numerical results
in words;


Fundamental Force

Fundamental Force objectives

•     Students understand that there are four
fundamental forces in nature.

•     The gravitational force.

•     The electromagnetic force.

•     The weak nuclear force.

•     The strong nuclear force.

•     Students will be able to interpret and use
the vector expressions for the gravitational and electric forces.,  and to recognize the implications of these
expressions for the analysis of many body problems by direct force calculation.




Context for the objectives

•     Classical Physics is applied to nature by
making an intellectually fruitful choice of system to study.  The rest of the universe then becomes the
environment for this system.  This
analytic dichotomy is both a goal for instruction and a context for describing
the objectives below.

•     When the system and its environment each
comprise small numbers of charges, analysis proceeds by computing the electric
field or electric potential produced by the environmental charges, then
computing the interaction of system charges with that field.  The force (or potential energy) of that interaction
then becomes an input to the mechanics problem as described in Physics 121


Electrostatics General objectives

•     The Student is able to make fruitful
choices of system charge(s) to study and clearly distinguishes between the
system and the environment.  The student
can distinguish between and properly associate the field (or potential)
belonging to the system charge from those made by charges in the environment.

•     The student can generate expressions for
the field (or potential) produced by the environment charges throughout the
region containing the system charge(s) and determine the values for these
quantities at the site of the system charge(s).

•     The student can generate expressions for
the interaction (force or potential energy) produced by the environment charges
on the system charge(s) and determine the values for these interactions as
inputs to the associated mechanics problem.

•     The student is able to apply the learning
objectives of the mechanics course to solve mechanics problems in this new
context.  The student has developed the
awareness that the mechanics principles can be generalized beyond that course.

•     The process described above is linear,
proceeding from cause to effect.  Once it
is understood the student must also be able to reason (and solve problems) that
begin with the effects as the inputs and have the causes as the desired goal.


The Electrostatics Particular Objectives

•     Students able to explain simple
electrostatics experiments and charge separation phenomena using ideas of
conduction, polarization of matter, and neutral pairs.

•     The student has an introductory
understanding of the structure and constituents of atoms, molecules, crystals
and amorphous solids, and can describe how these structures and the very large
number of particles involved affect the electrical properties of the respective
macroscopic material.

•     Students can identify the spectrum of
electric properties of bulk matter resulting from the range of conductivity
(zero to sensibly infinite) and understand the basic implications of these
properties on the fields and potentials in and around matter.  The student can describe these implications
both microscopically and macroscopically.

•     Students recognize that the structure of
the  field (or potential) is determined
by the structure of the charges. 
Students will demonstrate this understanding by identifying symmetries
in the field (or potential) structure that arise from symmetries in the charge
distribution (point vs. line vs. plane sources, E vs. B field structures).

•     The student can apply symmetry arguments
concerning field structure to the application of Gauss’ law.

•     Students recognize asymmetry in the charge
distributions and can  relate these
asymmetries to the structure of the fields (ex; discontinuity of E at a
boundary, the magnetic field around a wire etc. ).

•     The student demonstrates understanding of
the electric field in the space around environment charges by drawing
qualitatively correct field line maps for small numbers of charges or charged

•     The student is able to apply quantitative
aspects of basic electric field configurations in qualitative reasoning, e.g.

•     E points away from positive charges (toward

•     E falls off as r squared for the point
charge, and as r cubed for the Dipole.

•     The force produced by one charge on another
 is equal to the force produced by the second
charge on the first .

•     Students recognize the analytic simplicity
implied by the concept of superposition and can apply this understanding by
constructing solutions to complex problems by adding the fields (or potentials)
for simpler problems together to obtain the field (or potential) for the
complex problem.

•     The student can implement the previous
objective for both discrete and continuous charge distributions.

•     The student can compute the flux of the
electric field and use it in Gauss’ law.

The Electric Potential Particular Objectives

•     The student demonstrates understanding of
the electric potential in the space around environment charges by drawing
qualitatively correct equipotential maps for small numbers of charges or
charged conductors.

•     The student demonstrates understanding of
the relationships between electric field and electric potential by the ability
to transform electric field maps into electric potential maps and the reverse.

The Electric Circuit Particular Objectives

•     The student clearly distinguishes electric
potential from current in electric circuits and recognizes current as a
material flow (conserved) that proceeds in the direction of the gradient of the

•     The student can link electric potential in
electric circuits to the concept of potential described above and to models of
circuit potential such as water pressure or “electrical height”.

•     Students can analyze simple series and
parallel networks using equivalent circuits, solving for any desired variable.

•     Students can analyze complex networks using
Kirchoff’s rules.

•     The student understands and can apply the
formal definitions for capacitance, resistance, current, current density,  resistivity, power, EMF and internal

•     Students can predict the outcome of simple
shorting and disconnecting experiments.

•     Students can analyze RC and LR circuits
using calculus, solve problems using this analysis, and predict qualitatively
the time behavior of such circuits.

The Magnetic Field Particular Objectives

•     The student can predict field geometries
from source geometries and can apply the laws of Bio-Savart and Ampere to this

•     The student can determine the forces
exerted on system charges or currents by external magnetic fields (Lorentz
Force).  In addition to other common
geometries, the student will be able to compute the torque on dipoles and
current loops.

•     The student can apply the appropriate Right
Hand Rule to both objectives above.

•     In the absence of point sources for the
magnetic field, students recognize the dipole as a model for many magnetic
field structures.

•     The student can apply symmetry arguments
based on the sources to the structure of the magnetic field and use this
together with Amperes law to solve problems or draw conclusions about

The Field-Field Particular Objectives

•     The student understands that changing
Magnetic fields produce Electric fields, and that changing Electric fields
produce Magnetic fields.  The student can
properly apply the Right Hand Rule for these interactions and lens law for
general induction phenomena.

•     The student can describe the physical
principles that explain motors and generators and the conceptual similarities
between these devices.



GenEd Outcomes: Creative and Critical Thinking
  • Quantitative/Symbolic Reasoning
GenEd Outcomes: Connections
  • Natural Systems (Science and the Natural World)

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